Vodafone India, the telecommunications service providers and Bharat BPO, the official Rail Sampark partner of Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has announced a strategic partnership to facilitate online booking of railway tickets through mobile phone with Vodafone M-Pesa as payment option.
Vodafone M-Pesa is a mobile money transfer and payment service that has tied up with Bharat BPO (BBPO) to enable this ticketing transaction through the mobile phone. Customers will have to download the mobile application “139 Railways Reservation” once, post which it does not require any data connection for registration or booking of tickets. Vodafone customers can download the application by sending an SMS“TICKET” to 111. Once accessed, the app prompts users with interactive and guided menu options towards booking tickets. The SMS based booking on 139 is available for all feature phone customers. The application is also compatible with Android and J2ME handsets.
Speaking on this initiative, Suresh Sethi, Business Head – M-Pesa, Vodafone India said
This partnership would open up and extend the convenience and efficiency of e-Commerce and online services to those unbanked millions who are operating with cash and are otherwise excluded from this eco-system. This new app based offering empowers our customers to book railway e-tickets, seek PNR status, cancel tickets, get refunds, all at their own convenience, through their mobile handset.
Vodafone M-Pesa customers can send in their booking details through the “139 Railways Reservation” app and only have to enter their M-PIN to authorize the transaction. Additionally, information on partial/full cancellation, PNR Status etc. can also be accessed through the mobile application. In case of cancellations, relevant refund will be credited to the customer’s Vodafone M-Pesa wallet.
Taking a broader view, M-Pesa is a money transfer service from Vodafone. Serving the needs of the unbanked and under-banked customers, Vodafone M-Pesa is a way of bringing bank to the mobile. With a pan India distribution network of over 75,000 agents and with more than 1.8mn customers, M-Pesa today plays a vital role in enabling financial inclusion and m-commerce.